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Moving to 21st Century Internet Governance

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On Wednesday, March 13th, I testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.   At the hearing, I communicated Intel’s support for a successful and timely transition of the IANA Functions Contract from the U.S. government to the global multi-stakeholder community. In my testimony, I explain three reasons why this transition is both necessary and timely:

  1. Trust: We have observed a trend toward diminished trust in U.S. companies and the U.S. government both at home and abroad. This often manifests in policies restricting access to markets, mandating that data be held locally, and requiring that technology be designed and manufactured within a particular economy.   These are troubling trends, and if unaddressed, will substantially diminish Internet’s rate of growth, and global business revenues. The prompt transition of the stewardship of the IANA functions is critical to preserving and advancing trust in both the Internet and the global technology providers innovating its future. US technology companies like Intel have created tremendous economic benefits by helping to build the global digital infrastructure, and continued trust in this digital infrastructure is critical for continued economic growth.

  2. Multistakeholder governance: The transition underway will replace the NTIA as ICANN’s contractual counterparty, aligning the oversight, contract, and “customer” relationships under the multistakeholder community. This is the outcome that the U.S. government, the global Internet industry, and the rest of the global multistakeholder community desire: that ICANN’s new overseer will be the multistakeholder representatives of the Internet technical, operational, and business communities, as intended and defined by the Department of Commerce in ICANN’s bylaws seventeen years ago.

  3. Timing: In parallel with this transition, the United Nations is conducting the 10-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS +10). Throughout this process, which began last year and ends in December, the multistakeholder governance process has been under scrutiny from across the globe. During last year’s Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-14) in Busan, South Korea, the IANA transition provided a sense of trust and confidence for the global community that resulted in limited impact to the direct role of the ITU in Internet governance and related topics such as security. Continued trust and confidence in the transition will help achieve a successful outcome – one in which Internet governance continues through multistakeholder processes - in December during the WSIS +10 review. Unnecessary or externally imposed delay in the transition may turn the tides against multistakeholder governance and drive countries toward more multilateral approaches.

At Intel, we see technology as more than just a practical tool. Connectivity to a global, open, interoperable, trustworthy and stable Internet is critical to realizing the promises of this new computing area. And successful multistakeholder Internet governance systems – including the successful and timely transition of the IANA functions contract to the community - are key.

The Internet doubles in size every 10 ½ months and has done so for 30 years; technology is changing all the time. Keeping up with that rate of exponential growth requires that all parts of the Internet be continuously improved, not only the technical functions but the political and policy functions as well. It is critical Congress continue to provide support for the multistakeholder governance process, as the alternatives – equalized control through an intergovernmental body like the ITU - are far worse for companies like Intel, individual users of the Internet, and global economic growth. We can’t use 20th century politics and policies to govern 21st century technology.

Video footage of the entire hearing is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=1452&v=zUo-bhlfwao

Information on the hearing and other witnesses’ testimony is available here: http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/stakeholder-perspectives-iana-transition